[www.inewsguyana.com] – Recent reports of gold smuggling in Guyana has brought the mining sector under the microscope once more and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) says that it is disturbed by the reports which allege mass smuggling of the precious mineral from Guyana.
In a statement to the press, GRA stated that based on its previous experiences in the past where the integrity of the GRA was compromised by officers within the Authority, who have been in collusion with unscrupulous characters, fervent efforts have been made to hold officers accountable to standard operational procedures.
The tax Body says it “is most perturbed by recent revelations in the press about an organised gold smuggling racket and the implication of customs officials in this malpractice.”
It was stated based on the roles and responsibilities of customs officers, particularly at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and other ports of entry, it is quite baffling to the Authority that officers would be embroiled in the illegal gold smuggling ring.
“In accordance with the law, passengers with gold worn jewellery are not required to make a declaration providing that it does not exceed a certain value. On the other hand those in possession of raw and scrap gold and those with gold in commercial quantities, must make the required declarations. In such instances, the declaration must be accompanied by an approved import licence and permission from the Guyana Gold Board with an attachment stating the price, weight and other particulars of the shipper and consignee,” a the release stated.
GRA says that there is a likelihood that because of the foregoing provisions, there would be an enticement to smuggle items as worn jewellery in an attempt to elude Customs officials. As such, the support from other enforcement agencies such as the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) would be integral given the pervasive nature of smuggling.
“Customs Officers at the CJIA do not monitor outgoing passengers’ baggage. This activity is monitored solely by CANU, the Criminal Investigation Department and Special Branch of the Guyana Police Force and airport security personnel…. additionally, with pressure from the international community for countries to strengthen its legislation to guard against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, there is likely to be greater scrutiny for persons from Guyana to disclose the source of their valuable assets to US authorities,” GRA stated.
The agency will be seeking to ascertain the perpetrators in question to determine what enforcement action will be taken in accordance with the country’s border, trade laws and regulations.
Reports in another section of the media indicate that Guyanese and United States authorities have uncovered a money laundering and gold smuggling racket that has so robbed the country of more than US$200 million (GUY$42 billion) worth of the precious metal over a four-month period.
According to reports, as part of a crackdown, the US Visas for several gold miners have been revoked by the US authorities.